Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Post Doesn't Add to the Discussion

The other day I purchased some music for the kids. They Might Be Giants has an album called Here Comes Science and it's full of really catchy, not-annoying music for kids about cool science stuff. It sounds great for encouraging your kiddies in the love of science and exploring and building and learning and dreaming and taking care of the planet, and it really is. But.

Look, I have no problem with teaching kids about evolution. No problem with different theories about the origin of the universe. I think scientific discovery is awesome. I am happy my five-year old takes such an interest in it. I don't mind the catchy song "Electric Car" and I can handle the song "My Brother the Ape" even if I don't agree with all of its implications. But.

The song "Science Is Real," in all its fun glory, hit the limit for me. Here's some of the lyrics. (the parentheses parts are the lyrics I might add if They Might Be Giants ever let me be a member of their band. you know, to make the song even more catchy.)

Science is real (yep, it is)
From the Big Bang to DNA (yeah, that's some cool sciency stuff)
Science is real (yeah, and I already agreed with that)
From evolution to the Milky Way (yes. some more good scientific discoveries... where we goin with this?)
I like the stories (wait, stories? so we're talking fairy tales here?)
About angels, unicorns and elves (wait wait wait. hold on a second. one of these is not like the others...)
Now I like those stories (hey before you move on with that assumption, can we talk about--)
As much as anybody else (do you really like them, all those stories? or are you really just emphasizing the fact that you don't think they're real?)
But when I'm seeking knowledge (knowledge about how you should treat people? or knowledge about photosynthesis?)
Either simple or abstract (oh, so basically everything. got it.)
The facts are with science (yes, there are lots of facts in science, facts you are pretty dang sure are true because you've done lots of tests.)
The facts are with science (mm hm, you said that)
Science is real (uh huh)
Science is real (yes, we know)
Science is real (wait, are you maybe repeating this over and over again as a mantra to counter what some little kids' parents might have taught them about God being real? ohhh, I get it now.)

The song goes on to talk about hypotheses and proving things through experiments. And how that's a really great way to know things. I get it. I agree. But. But! Come on, guys. Are we going to ignore what just happened here?

Let's just do a few screenshots from the cute little video that goes with the song. (Here's the link if you want to watch the whole thing):

Now I like those stories 
(oh, he's reading about an angel in a book. hmm. I wonder what book that is.)

 About angels, unicorns 
(oh how fun! she's putting him on a unicorn in the sky!)

and elves 
(oh, cute. I love fantasy!)

As much as anybody else
But (oh no, he tried to fly and he fell!)

when I'm seeking knowledge 
(...and hit the ground. of reality.)

Okay. So I know what you're thinking. So delete the song already, my dear. Stop whining about it and move on and teach your kids what you believe to be real. 

Yes, that is my plan, it really is, I really will move on, but but but I just really need to talk about the first comment on this video.

Wow, Michael Cox must have said something offensive here. Maybe even inappropriate or vulgar. It must be, or it wouldn't be hidden, right? I'd better not click on that.

But wait, A. Robinson was just responding to Michael's comment and 76 out of 88 people thought his/her post added to the discussion. What the heck. Let's check it out. Hold your breath, if you want.

Only 26 out of 199 people think that Michael Cox's comment is relevant to the discussion. Actually, I'd make the case that Mr. Cox's comment is the heart and soul of the discussion that follows.

But, that aside, what amazes me is that a succint, well-written, polite comment like Michael's would be hidden away like something crude or totally off the wall, or, at the very least, rude.

Let's take a look at another hidden, irrelevant comment. Why not. Let's live on the edge a little.

         My goodness, E. Vage! 
         How dare you love the band's music and respect their views! 
         That definitely does not add to this discussion! 

         122 out of 137 people who read this comment.

Okay, we could keep looking at comments that don't add to the discussion, but maybe the point is that people just want to talk about how cute and catchy the song is. Let's take a look at some comments that do add to the discussion.

Wait a minute. Did religion intrude into this video? Nope. They Might Be Giants put it in there on purpose. Huh. 82 of 86 people think this comment adds to the discussion. Whatevs, maybe it's a fluke. Let's look at another relevant comment.

Anyways. We can stop there. I don't want to get into a debate about science vs. religion. I personally believe there is room for both of them, and you can believe what you want.

But guys, how can we have nice discussions if people aren't nice? Can't we agree to disagree? What kind of discussion is there if the opposing view isn't even viewable?

I suppose if you are on Amazon and label something as "not adding to the discussion," you might not realize that eventually the comment could be hidden from view like something inappropriate. I can see that. But I'm tired of people with my views being discredited and ridiculed and hidden.

There are still some of us who do believe in God. Maybe there are only 26 of us in a group of 199 people who comment on a video about a kids' science song, but we are still here.

God is real. I've done experiments, just like the scientists have, to find out for myself. My experiments are not done in a science lab, but they are just as conclusive for me. Do your own experiments, but please don't try to discredit me or make me feel like an idiot for mine.That's all I ask.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top o' the year

We got this from Ryan and Camilla. You should do it too! Apparently I need to work on my counting skills.

Top 5 movies you saw in 2013
Robot and Frank
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Get Low
After Earth
Catching Fire
Despicable Me II

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
After Earth (pleasantly surprised)
Ender's Game

Top 5 albums or songs you listened to in 2013
The Shins Port of Morrow
Radiohead In Rainbows
The Strokes Angles
Paradise by Coldplay (or "Peponi" by the Piano Guys)
On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons
Don't You Worry Child cover by the Piano Guys (feat. Shweta Subram)
The Little Drummer Boy and Radioactive covers by Pentatonix
Share it Maybe
by Cookie Monster

Imagine Dragons Night Visions
The Lower Lights A Hymn Revival Vol.1, Vol. 2
Mumford and Sons Babel
Celtic Mist Emerald Dreams
Shins Port of Morrow
Ye Elders of Israel cover by The Lower Lights

Top 5 favorite TV Shows you watched in 2013 (we have a hard time finding anything we like)
American Idol
Studio C
Duck Dynasty 
Dance Academy (Australian high school drama - still on the first season but I'm addicted)
Falling Skies seasons 1-2

American Idol
Studio C
Falling Skies seasons 1-2
Duck Dynasty
The Glenn Beck Show

Top 5 Books you read in 2013
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, Heir of Novron by Michael Sullivan
Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Furies of Calderon: Codex Alera (just Book 1) by Jim Butcher

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
The Riyria Revelations by Michael Sullivan (Theft of Swords, etc.)
Rereading The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Reread of The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Top 6 Memories from 2013
Christmas with my family
Thanksgiving in MD and DE
Michele, John, and Anna's arrival from Cambodia
Anniversary trip to Carmel by the Sea
Burkmans come and visit
Half marathons
Lincoln learns to walk
President Monson helps my friend and saves the day
Heather visits for 4th of July
Bryce's homecoming
(that's six, right? ahem)

Going to Carmel with  my wife
Going to Europe with my wife. That was fun.
East Coast visit for Thanksgiving
Cool missionary experience in Vegas. Shared the gospel with a cab driver.
Conference October 2013. It was awesome. Blew me away.
Backpacking Yosemite
Reading aloud to the boys
Taking the boys to a Lego expo
Family history graveyard experience

Worst 4 Memories from 2013
Lincoln inhales a peanut. Staying overnight in the ICU after the operation. Hearing him cry.
Bennett swallows a Lego and I get to "find" it
Bennett disappears from the park for 15 minutes
Bennett splits his forehead open
Bennett pulls a neck muscle and doesn't move for an entire day
Joshy peels a large section of paint off his classroom wall + phone calls from the principal and the school nurse
Joshy cuts the colorful wires inside the neighbor's DSL box 
(and that's about four...)

Totaling my 230,000+ miles college car
Baby son inhaling peanut
All the political scandals. Because I'm political like that.
Bennett splitting his head open

Things to look forward to in 2014
A new vehicle
Arranging more choir music with Finale
Learning the violin
Natalie's wedding!

Accomplishing some long held goals
My children's birthdays
Date nights with my wife
Imagine Dragons concert
Family vacations, family reunion in June
Turning 8 1/2